How I rediscovered running again
It’s really easy to stop running.
I mean, REALLY easy.
Your toddler woke you up for the umpteenth time last night. You ate the wrong thing the night before. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s hot. The bed is comfy. My favorite running pants are dirty. I’m not sure where my socks are. My running shoes are worn out. I don’t feel like it. I’m tired. It’s going to be a long day….
…you get the picture.
And, in full honesty, this has been my life since completing the Boston Marathon early last year. Between injuries, stress and just plain ol’ ordinary excuses, I made it very easy on myself to stop running.
So, I did…mostly.
Without any real training commitments, I had no real motivation to get up and go…until I decided to try my luck and put in for the Marine Corps Marathon.
In February, I received the email notification and my fate was sealed.
And I had to start this whole get-back-into-running-shape thing ALL.OVER.AGAIN.
Okay, so if you’ve been struggling to get motivated to run again (like me), here’s my best advice now that I’m two solid weeks in.
10 Ways to Get Motivated to Run (Again)
1. Ignore the weather. Yes, I get it. It’s muggy or freezing or hotter than h*@l where you live. Guess what: unless you live on the beach, the weather will NEVER be perfect so forget about checking the weather app.
2. Run early. I’m sure all the night owls are going to hate me for this one. Yep, I make myself go to bed EARLY so I can get up at the crack of dawn. You know why? Because the end of the day is a HECK of a lot harder to make sure my workout happens than at the beginning when the kids (and my husband!) are still asleep. It’s “me” time, y’all!
3. Eat lighter at night. Overall, the “eat lighter” concept is one that I’m taking to heart as part of my “get-my-butt-in-gear” goals anyway. Let me tell you though: eating steak the night before a run (whether it’s 3 or 13 miles) is NOT a great way to prep for a workout. Meat takes forever to digest and one of the things that drives me insane is having to make a pit stop at a gas station while I’m en route to my destination. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!
4. Tell everyone. Do you know how many people ask me how my running is going? Um, just about every friend or colleague I know. Why? Because I tell them. It’s not about bragging; it’s about accountability. Who LOVES to admit when they’re failing at something? Neither do I.
5. Pick (and Post!) your schedule. I trolled Google, printed out a bunch of blank calendar sheets for the next three months (up until marathon Sunday) and wrote out how many miles I needed to run on particular days. Then, I covered it in magnets on the fridge and mark on it every time I complete my run. It’s a constant reminder and also a great way to feel like you “checked the box” for the day.
6. Don’t overdo it. Runner’s high is pretty amazing, I’ll admit. In fact, in my first week back at it, I hardly wanted to take a day off, especially when the weather turned and it was *suddenly* 73 degrees on a Saturday morning…in July…in Arizona. (MIRACLE) Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to rest up in between runs. Your muscles and joints are taking a pounding. A good rule of thumb is to never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent. Try running two or three times in your first week, but gauge it by how your muscles are doing.
7. Roll out. That lactic acid is going to creep in as you get back to running, so your job is to push it out of your unsuspecting muscles so you’re not extra crampy. Get a foam roller, the Stick and even a golf ball (you’ll thank me!) so you can get to work. I actually like to roll out my quads and calves prior to a run to help loosen them up and make them a little more flexible before I hit the pavement.
8. Focus on drinking (water). Ugh. Who wants to drink boring ol’ water? I’ve tried filling up a giant water cup and drinking out of a straw; scheduling water breaks to get up and fill up…nothing seems to work. Then, I brought a personal water infuser to work, a cucumber, and some lemons. Voila! Insta water excitement. The flavor was a lot better than nasty Arizona water so I drank quite a bit more. There’s something out there that says to “drink 1/2 your body weight in water,” but as a person who has suffered from hyponatremia multiple times, I don’t like that at all. You should judge your hydration by two things: the color of your urine and the amount of fluids you lose during a workout. Basically, the lighter the urine, the better. If it’s clear, back off on hydrating. If it’s amber colored, you’re majorly dehydrated. Always weigh yourself before your run and after. You’ll get an idea of how much you were sweating and you should aim to drink that amount plus the norm. As a native Arizonan, hydration has always been a critical component in distance running, but I haven’t always done it well. Learn from my mistakes!
9. Find a buddy. I admit; I’m a bit more of a lone wolf when it comes to running. I love the quiet opportunity to reflect or zone out and running with a buddy can be a bit distracting in good and bad ways. Sometimes, especially at first, you need a buddy who can get you going, meet up with you and push you. Find someone who’s at or just above your fitness level and you’ll be happy and inspired.
10. Get happy. If you’re feeling like you’re dragging yourself out of bed and hating your life before you go for a run, it’s time for a perspective change! Take a few moments before you head out the door to think about why you’re doing this and what you hope to see outside on your run. Load your iPod/iPhone up in advance with some of your favorite songs and speed ahead to a favorite one to get your run started. If all else fails: SMILE. It’s super hard to be a Negative Nelly with a smile plastered across your face.
Happy running, friends! :)